Carat has today unveiled its latest findings into Gen X, a forgotten generation but one that packs a punch. You can read the full report HERE.
Gen X were born between 1961 and 1981 and are now aged 40-59. They have lived through technology revolutions, social revolutions, lead big business, and have strong spending power.
Also known as;
- The Latchkey Kids
- The MTV Generation
- The Stacker Generation, and
- The Forgotten Generation
However, whatever you call them, they’re influential, often overlooked, and undervalued by marketers.
Gen X have truly stood at the forefront of the technological revolution. In their formative years to the present, they’ve seen home entertainment evolve from the first VHS cassettes all the way to today’s same day streaming releases of movies on connected devices. They’ve seen communication shift from landlines to devices that fit inside their pockets and encompass their photography, discovery, information and entertainment needs too!
This pace of evolution applies not only to technology, but to culture as well. This Generation have seen and embraced the tide of societal shifts from gender roles through to the sexual revolution, making for a more open-minded outlook overall than their generational predecessors.
Looking at the most significant events of their lifetimes is telling as to why this generation are so diverse and open minded. Same Sex Marriage, the Mabo Decision and The Apology all brought often divisive viewpoints to the forefront, encouraging open debate.
September 11, Port Arthur Massacre, the Bali Bombings – all saw issues of terrorism and violence permeate the collective mindset. The advent and adoption of the Internet in their adulthood saw a generation entranced by digital efficiency and innovation.
Danni Wright, Carat’s chief strategy officer says of the findings: “This has been a fascinating report to compile, and has certainly shattered some of the stereotypes I’m ashamed to have held about this cohort. These are people who in many ways shaped the levels of equality that we are realising as a society today; the generation that forged a new path for women in the workplace, for diversity in Australia and for equal rights for same sex couples.
They are also the generational connectors, bridging the divide between their Gen Y children and their Boomer parents, no more notably than during the pandemic that saw their responsibility for both weigh heavily on them.”
“Whether it’s the Carefree CEOs, Ambitious Progressives, Comfortable Idealist or Hometown sceptics that exist within this generational cohort, the biggest provocation I would urge marketers to consider is the level of cultural nuance that this audience represents. More than one fifth of this audience speaks a language other than English in the home; it’s the brands that solve for this cultural duality that will disproportionately earn the attention and affinity of this cohort,” Danni added.
From both a global and local lens, there are four overarching trends that capture the spirit of this generation:
MTV Generation | Reminiscent Revellers
Gen X were the original MTV Generation, witnessing an explosion in the variety of music and celebrity lifestyle content that they were exposed to. This audio-video revolution inspired leagues of Goths, Punks and Rockers to seek out new means of discovering and expressing their identity.
The OG Connected | Adaptable Digital Explorers
Many of Gen Y take credit for being the pioneers of modern technology, but in fact, this award goes to Gen X. Witnessing the connection revolution, this generation are the OG Connected. Their adaptability and willingness to adopt new technology is endemic.
The Global Awakening | Culturally Diverse
Gen X are the forefathers and leaders of the Global Awakening. With events such as 9-11 and the Iraq wars taking place in their formative adulthood years, they have strong views of race, religion and politics.
The Redefinition of Gender | Liberated Trail-Blazers
With everything from women’s rights marches to the rise of single parent households – Gen X are very much a generation of freethinkers, breaking away from the traditional societal expectations that were so heavily ingrained in the Boomer generation.
Together with these overarching trends, captured in more detail in the report, Carat has also identified four typologies and how marketers can tap into them.
The Carefree CEOs are the beneficiaries of capitalism. They are career driven and technologically adept. Many of their strongest passions revolve around pleasure and enjoyment. They believe in working hard and earning enough money to pursue their many passions. Technology is at the forefront of their work and personal life, enabling them to maximise their time at work, and also to connect and share moments with their family. Although this audience pursues their passions and career, they do not forget about their family and of all the typologies have the most family members living at home together.
Anchoring communications in new trends – social influence works well.
Use opinion leaders to drive WOM – credibility matters.
Be omni-present and omni-shoppable – speed and ease are a must.
Leverage sporting partnerships – impressionable by sporting talent.
Showcase value throughout the product cycle – will vote with their wallets
Ambitious Progressives are an ambitious bunch. They steer managing a successful career with being the linchpin (main grocery buyer) of the home. Being, environmentally motivated, means they try to make an impact through their consumer choices where they can, such as purchasing one brand over another based on its ethical sourcing. They are very well educated which has helped them become influential in the workforce. Finally, this typology enjoys numerous hobbies to do with staying physically fit including yoga, pilates, hiking, heading to the gym or just having a morning stroll.
Sustainability is the expectation – they are conscious capitalists.
Make your ethical stance clear – they are time poor.
Make your ethical stance clear – they prioritise quality over quantity.
Win their trust to leverage their influence – they are motivated to influence others
Be present on the cooking journey – they are massive foodies.
The Comfortable Idealists are your classic ‘happy’ Australian. They live in the city suburbs and are comfortable with their finances. These people love routine; staying in at home and hanging out with their family or listening to The Beach Boys on repeat. They are hitting the peak of their work life, and some are looking to retire soon. When they get home, they still have young and grown-up kids to deal with and are often busy cooking and spending time with them. When they get worn out at home, a holiday down the coast or into the country is the antidote!
Tapping into their national pride – they are a patriotic and proud cohort
Build emotion through utility – they are ‘considered’ spenders
Home is where the heart is – they feel the most relaxed in their home
Sweat the small stuff – they are seeking small wins, not societal overhaul
Showcase value – they are savvy shoppers
The Hometown Sceptics keep themselves to themselves. They have tighter budgets than the other cohorts which may limit the hobbies they are able to try, but they take enjoyment out of the little things like watching live sports or listening to music and unwinding at home. Security takes a front seat in their lives, motivated by the desire to protect the things that they love and have worked hard for. They were not as lucky as the other typologies in benefiting from the technology and internet boom. As such, this typology is highly tuned to the privacy of their information online.
Championing privacy and safety – they are conservative with their data.
Focus on tried and tested – they prefer the status quo.
Chip away over time – they take time to convince.
Compete at moments of evaluation – they weigh up all the options.
Be relevant in at-home occasions – their downtime is spent in the home.
The report also explains the 10 rules of engagement for brands to think about when looking to connect with people in Gen X.
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